2020 Predictions for Business and Technology

1. REMOTE WORK JOBS

REMOTE WORK IS HERE TO STAY. IN FACT, REMOTE JOBS ARE GOING TO SKYROCKET.

Companies granting their employees the ability to work from outside of the office has been seen as a highly regarded perk for many workers. Remote work grants employees the flexibility to accomplish their work throughout the day, helps them save time commuting to and from the office, and some studies have shown many remote workers earn even more than their counterparts who work in physical locations. Regardless of these statistics, many organizations were not keen on the idea of allowing their team members to work remotely. In 2019, only 44% of businesses allowed their employees to work remotely. Obviously these numbers have changed in 2020. Where once the ability to work from anywhere was seen as a benefit only several employers would allow, now countless organizations must offer work-from-home solutions simply to stay afloat. Individuals are growing accustomed to the positive things they experience by working from home, and so are management teams. We predict that fully remote positions are going to be accepted by society and much more common in the future.

2. CLOUD MIGRATIONS

THE FINAL WAVE OF COMPANIES USING ON-SITE SERVERS WILL MIGRATE TO THE CLOUD.

Cloud Computing has been an ongoing conversation for businesses over the last several years, with research finding that approximately 90% of companies have migrated to the cloud or are planning to do so soon. We predict that of the organizations that have not yet migrated to the cloud, many of them will by the end of 2020. This year’s pandemic and the subsequent influx in remote work has proven that data storage and conducting day-to-day business works best when operating out of the cloud. The benefits of cloud computing rather than using on-premise servers are compelling. Costs are significantly reduced, data and most operations are highly secure, data is easy to access and hard to lose, and so much more.

Check out our Cloud Migration process.

3. BUSINESSES OPERATING VIRTUALLY

BUSINESSES THAT CAN LEVERAGE VIRTUAL WORK WILL PERFORM BETTER THAN OTHERS.

There is now a societal acceptance of virtual services, and that acceptance is here to stay. To stay afloat during widespread business closures, many businesses that are not seen as traditionally virtual – restaurants, grocery stores, etc. – have modified their services from in-person to predominantly virtual with flying colors. This change was initially an answer to consumers’ demand for services during widespread stay at home orders. We predict that even as these orders are lifted, consumers’ use of these virtual services will remain high. Before, many people were used to doing things manually.

Innovation is necessary for businesses to survive this pandemic. Business leaders must be able to adapt to new technology and become knowledgeable about the technological tools being used by their competitors and their target market of consumers.

4. NET NEUTRALITY

NET NEUTRALITY WILL BE SUPPORTED MORE THAN EVER BEFORE.

In the past, many people were under the impression that net neutrality would not be possible because the bandwidth would be too dense to accommodate all users. However, this year’s increased bandwidth (due to an increase of people staying at home) has been effectively handled by Internet providers across the United States. Before the 2020 pandemic, most internet providers generally held that there had to be caps on consumers’ Internet usage in order to handle it. However, this belief changed in March of 2020 when many Internet providers took these caps away. This event essentially proved that it was always possible for people to have access to unlimited Internet usage, and the Internet providers were deciding against granting it to users.

Like many other tech companies, Digital Maelstrom is pro net neutrality. Meaning, we believe Internet service providers should treat all data that travels across its platform fairly. This concept maintains that Internet providers do not discriminate based on user, website, content, platform, app, etc. Net neutrality means keeping Internet use neutral – a concept that society will consider even more valuable now. Given the present circumstances and the collective voice of society, we believe this year will lead to widespread support of net neutrality. This may look like the introduction of legislation supporting the objective, and both individuals and groups advocating to protect a neutral Internet.  Large players in the tech industry (Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Netflix, for example) that are historically pro net neutrality will also take measures to bolster this support.

5. INTERNET AS A NECESSITY

THE WORLD WILL NO LONGER VIEW THE INTERNET AS A LUXURY, BUT AS A NECESSITY.

In the second half of 2020, we predict there will be a surge in businesses making reliable Internet a top priority. Organizations would have failed long ago in the midst of this pandemic without the World Wide Web. Although many employees are currently required to be at home, they must still be able to work. Jobs in this day and age require both dependable and fast Internet access. Businesses need reliable Internet for many reasons: voice over IP (VOIP) services, transferring large files, interacting with clients via virtual capabilities, accessing organizational software, quickly communicating with fellow team members, the list goes on. This demand will only become more prominent as more and more businesses continue to work virtually. In the near future, we predict the U.S. government will enforce regulations that make the Internet more accessible by individuals. Tech companies may also continue to promote the idea of widespread accessible Internet service by building new Internet infrastructure, offering financially viable plans to Internet users, promoting related legislation, and more.

6. BUSINESS SECURITY STANCES

MORE BUSINESSES WILL TREAT SECURITY AS A TOP PRIORITY.

In recent years, notable data breaches and security flaws have resulted in businesses prioritizing security within their internal processes. In 2020, we predict that prioritization is going to become even more prominent than before. Holes in organizational security have made themselves evident, and consumers are taking note of companies who take measures to secure their applications and softwares (and those who don’t). Where organizations value security, individuals value privacy. With the influx of consumers using online services, organizations that deal with individuals’ personally identifiable information (PII) must be significantly more protective of their consumers’ data now more than ever. Individuals will remember companies’ responses more than ever during times of crises. Consumer trust can increase or decrease highly during emergencies – depending on how much they believe a company is genuinely looking out for their best interests. Many businesses are privy to this, and we predict these organizations will take significant measures to protect their organization and their people from bad actors. This may mean investing in identity management services, revisiting current emergency preparedness plans, completing a comprehensive security assessment of organizational infrastructure, or security steps specific to their business model.

7. WIDESPREAD INNOVATION

INNOVATION WILL OCCUR AND THRIVE LIKE NEVER BEFORE – ESPECIALLY IN BUSINESS

In the past year alone, we have seen groundbreaking innovation springing up all over various industries in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses were forced to completely change their processes, and they gracefully stood up to the challenge. Usually, the world only changes a little bit over the course of organic business development cycles. However, with the onset of the coronavirus, society and businesses have been forced to change substantially in a short amount of time. For example, Disney’s animated film Onward was only in theaters for a short time before physical theater locations closed. Disney took this setback and saw it as an opportunity – making the decision to release the film on Disney+ weeks before it was supposed to make it onto their streaming platform. This decision led to the film generating $39.1 million domestically in revenue its first weekend. Furthermore, Disney+ gained 50 million subscribers within its first five months – a number that far exceeded their expectations. The earliest a business chooses to innovate and change their business processes to match the current business climate, the sooner their customers will adapt to the changes. Companies that are not choosing to be  innovative right now are losing relevance with their consumers by refusing to change with the times. Depending on how often the coronavirus (or other viruses) heavily affects society, we may see instances of innovation come in bursts of varying lengths.

8. REMOTE WORK POLICIES

BUSINESSES WILL ENACT POLICIES TO HELP EMPLOYEES EASILY SWITCH BETWEEN WORKING REMOTELY OR ONSITE

It’s no question that work-from-home policies are a significant talking point for business leaders as of late. Many experts believe there is a significant chance that the coronavirus will recur annually or several times throughout the year. Even if the coronavirus does not make a reappearance, wage earners have gotten a taste of a world in which working from home is not only allowed, but encouraged. Businesses will certainly be especially aware of this, as it has a great impact on the health of both their employees and their clients. Now, the need for organizations to assess their emergency plans and protocol for disaster preparedness is absolutely critical. The occurrences of disasters and emergencies usually lead to bolstered efforts to prepare for similar events that could occur in the future. After 9/11 happened, many companies seriously reevaluated and reworked their current policies regarding potential disasters. Companies with policies in place to help their employees transition from conducting business in or out of the office are at a significant advantage. Our prediction for the rest of this year is that companies which have held off on instating these policies will create them before 2021.

9. INVESTING IN IT

BUSINESSES WILL CHANGE THEIR APPROACH TO INVESTING IN IT SERVICES

Of all the essential changes occurring within businesses recently, we believe one of these changes will be company decisions regarding IT spend. Technology is the foundation on which businesses have been conducting their work. Because of this, leaders are seeking ways to bolster their technological tools to help make their processes more secure, efficient, and financially viable. One of the technical investments we believe companies will make is hiring talented technical employees. In exchange for talent that fully understands the internal operations of a company’s IT, the business provides salary, training, benefits, etc. Another investment companies may choose are hiring contractors to assist internally with the IT and technical operations. Aside from employees, companies will opt to invest in services that allow them to be flexible with their cash flow regarding their tech. Meaning, rather than purchasing computers for the office and paying for necessary updates and applications, businesses may choose to rent or lease highly efficient computers for their employees. Rather than paying for on-site servers, organizations may determine cloud servers grant them more storage and greater capabilities regardless of where work is conducted.

Next Steps

Did you agree with our predictions? Did you disagree? Have some questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert team members!